08/01/2014, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Indonesian Muslims slate the "Caliphate" and ISIS: We need peace and coexistence

by Mathias Hariyadi
A video posted on YouTube by an unknown Indonesian Islamic guerrilla calls the "brothers and sisters" of Southeast Asia to join the Islamic State in Iraq and fight for the creation of a Muslim caliphate. In recent days, hundreds of people gathered to invoke “holy war." Moderate Islamic leader: "Only a fool would make such a choice, we strongly condemn these senseless actions."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Civil society and the two largest Islamic organizations in Indonesia have roundly condemned the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and the actions of its leader, the "Sheik" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Kiai Hajj Malik Madani, a leading official of the Nahdlatul Ulama (Indonesian Muslim organization with 70 million members), says: "We need peace and harmonious co-existence, not a caliphate. Our teaching is clear: no war among ourselves or with other religions".

The reaction of the moderate Islamic leader was sparked by the circulation of a YouTube video in which an unknown Indonesian Islamic guerrilla (who calls himself Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi) urges "Muslim brothers and sisters of the country" to join ISIS to create an Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East. The next step, he says speaking in Bahasa, "will be to have a Caliphate even here."

It is not just the ravings of a provocateur. In mid-July 2014, more than a thousand people gathered at a mosque in Solo Baru (Sukoharjo regency) to attend a prayer meeting hosted by the Islamic Daulah Support Forum. After the prayer, those present declared their public support for ISIS, claiming to be ready to go to Iraq and Syria. Organizer Afif Abdul Majid, explained that "not all of them agreed to be 'initiated', but at least half asked to be 'baptized' to support the mission." He added that in the coming weeks such a "baptism" will also celebrated in Malang (East Java): here, according to some sources, on 25 July another 500 people gathered for a similar ceremony.  

The Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has denied that there are Indonesian militants in Iraq who have sided with ISIS, but the anti-terrorism chief Ansyaad Mbai wanted to emphasize that "any of our citizens involved with these activities will be severely punished. Those who go to fight in the Middle East will lose their citizenship and be tried harshly".

Prof. Syafi'i Maarif, a well-known professor of Islamic Studies and former president of the moderate Muhammadiyah, concludes: "The video that is circulating these days must be strongly condemned. Only a fool would choose to join ISIS and its small groups of followers".

 

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